Baroness Thatcher ‘destroyed’ her opponents, Oldham MP tells Parliament during Commons tribute

By Matthew Lees

Baroness Thatcher ‘destroyed’ her opponents and ‘wiped out’ Greater Manchester’s textile industry, an Oldham MP told the House of Commons yesterday when discussing the death of the former Prime Minister.

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher caused a stir in Parliament while politicians took part in the special Commons debate which was called after Margaret Thatcher passed away on Monday.

Her effect was so huge, Labour MP Meacher has received dozens of emails and phone calls from voters since Baroness Thatcher’s death.

“In Oldham, the textiles industry was wiped out and whole swathes of some of the country’s finest engineering companies were simply swept away,” he said.

“Yes, I think this side [Labour] agrees, that change, even painful change, is often necessary.

“But it should not be bought at the price of the tripling of unemployment, the tripling of child poverty, and the rise of an unacceptable increase in inequality, which is still with us today.”

Meacher, who first came into office in 1970, was in the shadow cabinet during the Thatcher years that involved huge political and economic change but admitted something needed to be done.

 “The leader in 1979 certainly required a dominant personality to save the country out of its conservatism,” he said.

“Mrs Thatcher was a very different kind of leader.

“She was someone who took the fight to her opponents, who deployed a scorched earth policy to destroy them, which polarised the country.”

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